Hi Konrad et all,
I decided to just go ahead and get some soon after since no one replied with any experience--like you said, the on sale prices plus the 30% coupon and free shipping over 75 dollars made for some pretty nice prices, and wonky fits or not, Polartec usually makes some pretty nice fabric.
I am a bit skeptical though of the claim of 20% more warmth than their previous best fleeces because i read a study recently which compared some solid and semi hollow fibers and found that the solid ones where actually warmer, but the caveat was this--in this study, the solid fibers were significantly smaller diameter and this trapped more air in the actual weave, which offset the air trapping of the larger diameter, but semi-hollow fibers. Quite interesting! Also, they found that it was the tri-lobal (triangular), solid fibers weaved in a twill pattern that was the warmest of the bunch. I can look for the link if anyone is interested in reading the study. I wish the study had listed the fiber sizes.
This contradicts my experience with say, Alpaca, or Angora rabbit infused Lambswool vs Merino wherein the Alpaca or Lambswool infused with Angora Rabbit is noticeably warmer, because of the semi-hollow fibers, but in this case, the fibers are usually around the same size for what's considered good quality for both (say, baby alpaca vs super fine merino--Angora rabbit on the other hand is almost always finer, and more hollow than Alpaca, but is unfortunately not very durable or strong).
Anyways, back to Land's End Polartec Aircore fleece stuff. This is what i bought. A men's large 100 weight fleece partial zip jacket, a boys X Large 200 weight fleece jacket with hood, a boys large balaclava, 1 pair of men's medium gloves, and 2 pairs of socks--one medium and one small. With the sale, coupon, and free shipping, came out to about 56 dollars--not bad for all that!
Before i review some of the 'gear', i will say that i'm a shade under 5' 7" and about 153 lbs, with a short torso and medium build (naturally muscular and athletic, but don't lift, nor work out that much in general beyond regular walking and semi-regular hiking or jogging). The men's large 100 fleece is QUITE light, and surprisingly warm. I wore it on a half hour walk (not hike) in the park, with a thin, long sleeve baselayer type shirt underneath, and was fine in the temps that were about 37 f or so, and very light wind. The fit is slightly smallish, but worked for me since i wear a medium normally, but wanted just slight extra space for layers.
The Boys X large hoodie 200 weight fleece jacket was actually large enough to layer at least a baselayer, and maybe a thinner/lighter mid layer under. However, the fit was a bit "wonky", in that it was somewhat reminiscent of a female fit. So, i gave it to my wife who is a shade under 5' 10", a "few" more lbs than myself, quite busty, and it fit her great with enough room for a baselayer underneath. This also mollified her somewhat since i was yet again buying more gear (i guess it didn't matter that it was close to my b-day, and all she had gotten for me was a book..). I haven't tested this piece out, but it's finally nice and cold outside and so i might give it a go tonight.
The boys large balaclava fit surprisingly well since i have a large head for my height and weight. It's a bit tight, but since the fabric is a bit stretchy it works fine. Pretty light and warm. It's a bit warmer and lighter than my micro fleece men's balaclava, which is a similar thickness and size.
The men's medium gloves fit well (i have small hands) and is quite warm for a solely fleece type glove. We have had some recent 20 to 35 days and 14 to 25 nights in which i've worm them and was quite warm. The fingers seem to have doubled fabric so it's toasty, but a bit thick and awkward.
The socks are weird fitting, as the other reviews have said. Not sure why i bought them, but if i do wear them, it would be over my thin/light Linen-Polyester socks, or my thinner/lighter wool socks as impromptu slippers or for sleeping on cold nights. I doubt they would be good for hiking, but i will try them out at least once.
If folks are interested, i can get the weights of these items as well, since i very recently bought a scale. If people have weights of other fleece garments, it would be interesting to compare and see if there is any significant differences.